Health is more than just the absence of illness – it’s rooted the quality of the life you lead, and the same is true for pets. Holistic health is taking the time to care for yourself by eating a good diet, getting plenty of exercise, minimizing stress and finding joy in the gift of being alive.
We already know that having pets provides us with many health benefits. According to the Center for Research: “Some research studies have found that people who have a pet have healthier hearts, stay home sick less often, make fewer visits to the doctor, get more exercise, and are less depressed. Pets may also have a significant impact on allergies, asthma, social support, and social interactions with other people.”
National Holistic Pet Day encourages pet parents to take the time to review ways they can improve the overall health of their pets – mind, body and spirit. Best of all, everyone benefits!
NUTRITION & DIET
Nutrition is an important aspect of holistic pet care. Animal’s digestive systems are not meant to process chemicals and preservatives found in cheaper forms of pet food. Choose high quality, natural, organic food and treats whenever possible. Pets that eat a diet of natural and organic foods enjoy stronger immune systems, which helps prevent disease and other health problems. High quality, natural dog food also helps dogs fight allergies, intestinal problems, obesity, diabetes and other food-related diseases.
Make sure your pets have plenty of clean, fresh water that is free from chemical contaminants like fluoride and chlorine. Use stainless steel or ceramic bowls rather than plastics, which can leach harmful chemicals into food and water.
EXERCISE & GROOMING
One of the best ways to keep the body healthy is to get plenty of exercise. Regular exercise not only helps keep both you and your dog physically fit, it also helps with weight loss, lowers cholesterol levels, decreases diabetes risk, and lessens the risk of heart disease. Exercise can also help alleviate anxiety and fight certain cancers. Daily walks or runs, swimming, playing chase or fetch gets you both moving, so it’s a win-win situation.
Regular grooming is also important – daily brushing of teeth can help prevent periodontal disease. When bathing your pet, use grooming products with natural oils and extracts instead of synthetic chemicals, which can leave harmful residue and strip away the natural oils in your pet’s coat.
MIND & SPIRIT
Keeping the mind stimulated and sharp is important for both people and pets. Physical activity helps keeps pets feeling happy and well-balanced.
Invest in interactive toys like a treat ball or other toys specifically designed to challenge your pet – if they solve a puzzle, they find a treat.
You can also take some time to hide treats in different areas of your home or apartment – your pets will have fun finding them and even more fun eating them.
Vary your route when going for a walk, so your dog can enjoy new smells, sights and sounds!
For many dogs, a trip to the local doggie park can also be a wonderful, stimulating adventure – but be sure to keep a close eye on them as they interact with other dogs. The opportunity to run and play off leash is a wonderful treat. They get a chance to explore the park, meet and make new friends, and you do, too!
Remember, holistic health is all about improving quality of life – both for you and your pet.